How to Choose a Tortilla Maker

To Make Perfect Corn Tortillas

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In understanding how to choose a tortilla maker we dive into the often overlooked foundation of Mexican cuisine, the humble tortilla. Often people just starting to get interested in cooking Mexican food at home under-appreciate the tortilla.
You might think making tortillas from scratch is too difficult and time-consuming. Or maybe you truly believe that store-bought tortillas taste just as good.

The truth of the matter, of course, is that fresh, homemade tortillas have a wonderful flavor that you just can’t get at the store.

One thing is for sure, if you want to regularly bring the true Mexican flavor into your home or become an expert Mexican cook, think about investing in a tortilla maker you can use at home.

How to Choose a Tortilla Maker and Press

When choosing your tortilla press, you will have plenty of options. In Mexico, you will find lots of cast iron and even wooden tortilla presses, but a cast aluminum tortilla press is also an option.

3 Things to Consider When Choosing a Tortilla Maker

  • Think about the diameter of the tortilla you like as this determines the size of the tortilla maker to buy. Otherwise you will haave to own several tortilla makers to achieve different sizes. The most common diameters are 6 and 8 inches or 15 and 20 cm. Wooden makers let you make larger size tortilla
  • Look at your budget. Manual tortillas are inexpensive however, they require more work and experience to operate and make the tortillas perfectly. Instead, electric tortilla makers are a dream because they are easy to operate and once you find the right temperature you are all set.
  • When looking into how to choose a tortilla maker it is wise to look at the types of tortilla flatteners/makers:
Cast iron

They are the most durable and more expensive than aluminum. The main advantage of the cast iron tortilla maker is the weight because you won’t have to exert so much pressure while making your tortillas. On the other hand keep in mind it is going to be a heavy tool.

Also, cast iron can rust while other tortilla makers won’t, especially the versions being made in China today. To recognize a true Mexican tortilla maker look for a roughly applied silver coating. this prevents iron from rusting.

Aluminum tortilla makers

Aluminum has the advantage of being rust-proof and also much lighter than iron or wood. They are soft and require care while cooking because you can break them if you make too much pressure. They are not as heavy as the cast iron ones, therefore you have to make pressure to flatten the ball of masa.

Wood tortilla makers

These makers should be made of high quality woods for the job. I recommend mesquite wood or oak. These makers are bigger in size therefore they eat more real estate in your kitchen. I live in an apartment so that is a consideration.

Wood makers are square and you simply place the masa in the middle to flatten it. The advantage is that they make a bigger tortilla than the others however, you need to finish cooking them separately. Using one is more time consuming.

Electric Tortilla Maker

Of course, in a modern kitchen there is a gadget for everything, and a gadget for making tortillas perfectly and efficiently is not an exception. This is when the tortilla maker and electric tortilla cookers come in.

When choosing an electric tortilla cooker, you’ll probably want to choose one that has temperature settings marked in degrees, rather than just high and low. That way you will be sure not to burn your tortillas in the tortilla maker.

You should also look for quality non-stick coating. The electric tortilla press flattens and cooks the tortillas at the same time, saving you time and effort.

Now that You Know How to Choose a Tortilla Maker It Is Time To…
Make Your Tasty Mexican Tortillas

The first step to making tortillas is to make the dough, or masa. I can hear you saying “but Marcela, turning corn into flour is extremely time consuming” therefore I recommend you to purchase corn flour or masa harina at the store, rather than making it yourself.

To make a dozen tortillas, just mix two cups of the flour with one cup of water and a dash of salt, knead the mixture for three or four minutes, then cover it and let it sit for an hour.

Once your dough is ready, you need to divide it into small balls and make the tortillas.

In the olden days, Mexican women made tortillas completely by hand, and became such experts that they could pat out perfectly round, wafer thin tortillas using nothing but their hands. Nowadays, it is much more common to use a tortilla press to do this.

After using the tortilla press to flatten your dough balls into tortillas, you need to cook the tortillas.

Traditionally, this is done using a cast iron skillet. Just add a bit of oil to the skillet and cook both sides of the tortilla for a few seconds. Then pop it into a tortilla basket to keep it warm until serving.

You are all set. Do you have any good tips about choosing a good tortilla maker? Share it with us!

Pico de Gallo Recipes

There are many Pico de Gallo recipes and they can be savory or sweet depending on the ingredients you use to make them. The most known recipe is a tomato based one that originated in Mexico.

The traditional recipe uses tomatoes, onion, cilantro and lime. To make it spicy many people add jalapeño or serrano chiles. I am from Colombia; therefore we make it without the chiles. Other ingredients you can add are a leaf of coriander, cucumber, radish and even chunky mango.

Where does its name come from? According to Larousse de Cocina Mexicana, by Alicia Gironella y Giorgio De’Angelli, the name comes from the size of the ingredients of the sauce that are not bigger than a rooster’s beak or about 2 centimeters in length.

Pico de Gallo Recipes

Pico de Gallo Recipes

Pico de Gallo Recipes
by Elizabeth Seering

Savory Version

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium size ripe tomatoes diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh Cilantro finely chopped
  • 1 medium purple onion diced
  • 2 fresh serrano or jalapeño peppers seeded and minced
  • Salt to taste
  • A pinch of garlic powder

How to Prepare:

1. Put all ingredients in a bowl
2. Add 1/4 cup of cold water and mix all
3. Add the remaining ingredients, and gently mix
4. Refrigerate 1 hour before serving

Sweet Version

Ingredients:

  • 3 oranges, peeled and cut in small sections
  • 1 medium jicama cut into 1/2 chunks
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • A pinch of garlic powder

How to Prepare:

1. Mix jicama, oranges, onion, lime juice and salt in a bowl
2. Let stand in refrigerator at least one hour before serving
3. Sprinkle with the chili powder before serving

Salsa Variations

The Savory recipe includes red tomatoes, onions, green chiles and can also have cilantro and avocado. On the other hand the sweet Pico de Gallo uses fruits like orange, melon, mango and watermelon.

I serve both recipes when entertaining. These Pico de Gallo recipes are always a hit, especially the sweet one because it is not very known here in the U.

How to Make Your Michelada

The Refreshing Mexican Drink That Rules

Do you want your guests to enjoy a refreshing and authentic Latin beverage? Offer them a michelada. This Mexican drink, that now is recognized as one of the typical Hispanic drinks, can be prepared with beer as a base, lemon, salt and a concoction of ingredients that give it a spicy kick.

In the majority of South American countries we make this drink without the spicy sauce, Maggi seasoning, tabasco sauce, clamato or the English sauce that many in Mexico use to prepare it.

I first tried this drink in Colombia where we prepare them with lemon, salt and beer only. But when my husband and I traveled to Mexico we fell in love with the real deal. My husband “el gringo” said to me: “a meeeche… what?” when he heard me ordering one at our resort.

Recipe

Michelada

Michelada
by Mark Hammond


Ingredients:

  • 1 12-Oz beer
  • 2 limes quartered (preferably Key limes)
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 dash Tabasco sauce
  • 1 dash soy sauce
  • Black pepper
  • Coarse salt
  • Maggi seasoning

How to Prepare:

1. Rub the rim of a glass with a wedge of lime.
2. Pour salt on a bowl wide and deep enough to dip the glass rim you just rub with lime juice.
3. Squeeze the limes and pour the juice in the glass.
4. Add Worcestershire, Tabasco, soy sauce, pepper and Maggi and mix.
5. Pour the beer and enjoy!

Origins

I learned by researching the origin of the michelada that If you drink beer with lemon, that is called a chelada.

But, where does this drink come from? Many say the name comes from its inventor, Michel Esper, who created the spicier version of this drink at the Club Deportivo in San Luis Potosi in Mexico. Others believe the name evolved from the saying mi chela helada or my ice-cold beer.

Keep in mind there is not one way to prepare this drink, there are many recipes and they vary even from one state, or even town in Mexico to another. So, try several recipes while enjoying a piece of Hispanic culture.

Mexican Salsa Recipes

Excellent to Spice Up Your Life

My husband likes spicy food, so I wanted to add a little bit of spice into our life… Mexican salsa recipes from Hispanic cooking traditions gave me the option of spicing up our food in a very easy way!

History of Mexican Salsa

What I learnt is that in the olden times, Hispanic cultures like the Aztecs, Incas and Mayans in Mexico and Mesoamerica used the tomatoes, chilies and spices as a base for this special sauce.

When the Spaniards came to the Americas, they learned about this delectable sauce from the Aztecs. They used tomatoes which the Aztecs called tomatl, chilies and other ingredients like beans and squash seeds to make the sauce that accompanied turkey and fish meals.

The making of salsa was passed on from the older generation to the next by word of mouth. Salsa was used to increase the flavor and taste of meats, salads, rice, beans, etc. Could you imagine the tasty meals the Aztecs used to have?

The famous salsa cruda which is the salsa fresca or fresh sauce, is the most common. To this day we make it with tomatoes, onions, and fresh Serrano or Jalapeño peppers.

Mexican Salsa

Mexican Salsa

From the time salsa started being topped on rice and beans, a myriad of other Mexican salsa recipes sprung. My friend Rosi told me that when she wants to make an authentic sauce, she follows this Mexican salsa recipe.

Making Mexican Salsa

Ingredients

  • 2 big red ripe tomatoes peeled and seeded
  • 1 Anaheim green chili
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 4 oz chopped green chilies in a can
  • 3 green onions
  • 2 or 3 jalapeños
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of lime juice
  • 1/4cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • Pepper to taste
  • Salt for seasoning the salsa to your taste

Preparation

  • 1. You have to char the tomatoes in a hot broiler or over a gas grill for a few seconds.
  • 2. Peel, core and seed the tomatoes and cut them into chunky pieces.
  • 3. Peel the garlic clove and put it in your food processor with the chopped cilantro, the chopped and seeded jalapeños and the chopped green onions.
  • 4. Add all the other ingredients like the tomatoes, the Anaheim chili, olive oil, chopped green chilies and the lime juice.
  • 5. Process this with a few brief pulses of your food processor.
  • 6. Add some pepper and salt to taste and set aside in a serving bowl to season for an hour.
  • 7. Before serving the salsa, mix in 1/4 cup of ice water to cool it further and you can go head and enhance the flavor of your rice, beans, chicken, beef, fish or simply eat it with tortilla chips.

If you like to go with another kind of Mexican salsa, all you have to do is add mashed avocado and turn your authentic salsa into guacamole.

You can even go farther by trying salsa recipes like the mango salsa tropical, black bean and corn salsa, salsa ranchera, etc.

Regarding the mango salsa, all you need are mangoes, papayas, pineapples and a bit of vinegar. It’s easy to put variety into your meals with different Mexican salsa recipes. A bit of variety with fruits is all you need.

Mexican Rice Recipe in 20 Minutes

One of the greatest things about food today is that every person has the opportunity to sample cuisine from various countries and cultures in the world without stepping out of their own countries to do so.

Many people in the U.S. are willing to try authentic Spanish foods or any Hispanic food like a simple Mexican rice recipe due to the influx of Hispanics in the U.S.

Hispanic food influence is noticeable in the number of restaurants and products that cater to Hispanic culture lovers.

When you’re in a Hispanic food mood, you just have to make yourself a meal of Mexican rice. There are many varieties for this kind of dish and you shouldn’t confuse this recipe with Spanish rice found in authentic Spanish food.

Why Use a Rice Cooker?

Mexican Rice Recipe

Mexican Rice Recipe

Because it makes it better! I have used it for years and it only helps make the rice more enjoyable. It cooks the rice in such a way it becomes softer and moist. Good to perfection

What I love about using a rice cooker is that it allows you to steam vegetables at the same time, which is a perfect complement for any rice.

Particular rice cookers like the Panasonic SR42HP have features like see through glass to monitor your cooking, non stick inside, automatic rewinding cord, and a great capacity. Imagine Mexican rice for the entire family with no sweat!



Going back to the Mexican rice recipe, you can have this rice meal on its own or you can mix it with other Mexican dishes and other foods from Hispanic culture.

With this kind of rice, you have to remember that cooking rice properly as well as using quality chicken stock or broth is the key to a tasty Mexican rice meal.

Making a Mexican Rice Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of long grain white rice
  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • ½ green bell pepper
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 big red tomato
  • 1 fresh jalapeno pepper
  • 1 cube chicken bullion
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ½ cup of chopped fresh cilantro
  • pepper to taste
  • Salt to taste

Preparation

1. Cook the rice over medium heat with the vegetable oil for three minutes.
2. Pour the broth in and bring that to a boil.
3. Stir in the vegetables that are finely chopped.
4. Season the rice with the spices, the garlic and the bouillon cube.
5. Bring the Mexican rice to boil again and cover it for 20 minutes at a reduced heat. If using a rice cooker follow timing for your specific cooker.
6. Enjoy.

A Bit of History

Now that you know how to make yourself a nice meal of Mexican rice, you might be wondering where all this came from. The Mexican rice recipe actually finds its roots in the conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards.

What used to be a nomadic society that thrived on hunting wildlife like deer and rabbits turned into a society that planted corn and other vegetables.

When the Spaniards came in 1521, they brought the taste for rice, spices, etc. From that time on, there was a good mix of all the ingredients found naturally in Mexico with the ingredients introduced by the Spanish conquistadores.

On the rice, herbs like coriander and spices like cumin were mixed in. Maize that grew abundantly in Mexico was made into tortillas and a whole new gastronomic adventure begun.

Mexican Mole

How to Make Mexican Mole in 45 Minutes
Origins and Recipe

For a more flavorful Mexican meal, you might like to add Mexican mole to your dish. This basically refers to a number of complex sauces that make Mexican cooking the delectable and wonderful food it is. With a good mix of spices, nuts, herbs, chilies, fruits and even chocolate, mole adds a great flavor to vegetables, meat or fish.

The origin of these sauces is believed to be from places like Tlaxcala, Puebla and Oaxaca. Many say the best kinds of moles however are found in Oaxaca and Puebla.

In this sauce, the chili pepper is the main ingredient. One of the most classic kinds of the mole in Hispanic culture is the one called Poblano. This is a brown or dark red sauce that’s served over meat.

Today we use ingredients from the continents of Africa, Europe and North America to make this sauce. When you want to put a Hispanic twist in your dishes, you can easily make mole yourself, just follow this simple recipe.

Making Mexican Mole

Mole

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon of dried cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/8 teaspoon of minced dried garlic
  • 1 can of diced green chili peppers
  • 1 can of thick tomato soup

Preparation

1. You only have to heat the oil over medium heat in a saucepan.
2. Cook the onion until it becomes tender.
3. Mix in the garlic, cilantro, cocoa powder and cumin.
4. Add the green chili peppers and the tomato soup.
5. Bring this mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to low.
6. Cover the saucepan and simmer for another 10 minutes.
7. Top any meat or food you desire with this Mexican sauce and serve. In half an hour, you’re ready with a fabulous dish, spiced up and made tastier by the mole.

History of Mexican Mole

There are many versions to the legend that relates to the birth of the mole, and the most popular one took place in the Convento de Santa Rosa in Puebla.

Many say that in the colonial period, when the nuns heard that the archbishop was coming to visit, they were panic stricken because they had nothing to serve for they were poor.

The nuns prayed and brought together the bits they had, ingredients like spices, chocolate, chili peppers and the like. In the convent they had an old turkey that they killed, cooked and served with the sauce on top. When the archbishop finally arrived, the nuns served this meal and he loved it.

When steaks and other meals start to taste boring to you, you “spice them up” with this Mexican sauce. It’s a great sauce to pour over rice, salad greens, rotisserie chicken and turn a simple meal into a special one with Mexican Mole!

Mexican Chicken Recipe

Forget About Your Boring Chicken

When thinking about preparing a Mexican chicken recipe I found many choices. They included variations in the salsa, spice level, and so forth.

I am always in search of authentic Hispanic recipes that have chicken with some kick because we barely eat red meats in our home. I know red meat is typical in Hispanic culture but we live on chicken and fish most of the time.

I also like to look at the history of the dishes to know more about my heritage and share it with my readers. Here is what I know.

In the beginning, food was mainly derived from picking fruit and berries and hunting animals like rabbit and deer. That was when our ancestors were nomads.

When they decided to settle, they started planting and in Hispanic history, when the Spaniards came to Mexico, they introduced the concept of raising livestock to the locals.

Animals like pigs, sheep and chickens were raised for food. The Spaniards also brought spices like cinnamon and other foods like nuts, fruits and rice.

Using ingredients that grow abundantly and are readily available in the area along with ingredients the Spanish conquistadores brought with them to Mexico, the Mexican chicken dish was born in Hispanic culture.

It’s fairly easy to make Mexican chicken and with this Mexican chicken recipe, you’ll end up with a chicken entrée that’s just too good to be true and will soon become one of your favorite Mexican dishes.

Quick and Easy Mexican Chicken Recipe

Ingredients

    • 1 pinch of ground black pepper
    • 1 pinch of salt
    • 1 pinch of ground cumin
    • 1 minced clove of garlic
    • 1 cup of Mexican salsa
    • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
    • No Mexican chicken is complete without the chicken and for this recipe, you’ll need four skinless and boneless chicken breasts

How to Prepare

1. Start this Mexican chicken entrée by preheating the oven to 375 Fahrenheit.
2. You then heat a greased skillet over medium heat.
3. Rub the pieces of chicken with garlic, pepper, salt and cumin and cook them in the hot skillet.
4. When both sides are brown and there’s no longer a pink tinge in the meat, the chicken is done.
5. Transfer this onto a casserole dish or a baking dish.
6. Top the meat off with cheese and salsa and bake it at 375 Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.
7. When the cheese starts to turn brown and if it’s bubbling up, it’s ready.
8. Serve this Mexican dish over white or yellow rice.

There are many kinds of Mexican chicken dishes that you can enjoy aside from this dish. There’s the enchilada, the chimichanga, the fajita and the taquitos.

If you find that you’re bored with your traditional chicken recipe, spice things up with this Mexican dish. There’s nothing like a good Mexican recipe for making chicken more interesting and delectable.

In a world that’s more interconnected than ever, it’s so easy to try new things out and with regard to food, there’s no need for you to go to Mexico to experience what the culture and cuisine has to offer.

How to Make Mexican Casserole

Mexican casserole is a marvelous dish to complete any Mexican meal or potluck dinners because of its delightful taste. Even the kids like it too. Here I give you an easy recipe that uses poultry or beef as main ingredients.

This casserole is a combination of spices, cheeses and meat but it can also be vegetarian with bean ingredients as a source of protein. It can be made more or less spicy (using chili) depending on your preference. Chili may be a common recipe in most Mexican foods but not all chili is spicy in nature.

You can use sausage instead of beef. Chicken and beans are also a good combination. If you are using meats, flavor them with taco seasoning. Tortillas layered with beans and meat is another variation. Some of the most common Mexican Casserole recipes are Nacho, Chicken, and Layered Tortilla.

The varied culinary history of the contemporary Mexican cuisine shows their appreciation for the right combination of ingredients and the great Mexican imagination.   Understanding Mexican cuisine gives you a glimpse into their culture and the history that goes with it.

Mexican Casserole

The Spanish conquest influenced the Mexican cuisine as it introduced herbs, spices, wheat, garlic, and livestock to the country. The versatility of the Mexican food recipes gives many families wide choices in preparing foods.

The origin of Mexican food goes back to the Mayan Indians in Southeast Mexico who were nomadic hunters and whose common food was corn tortillas with bean paste.  These turned out to be a good source of amino acids which the body needs to produce protein to function properly.

Recipe for Mexican Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1 16 oz. sour cream
  • 1 8 oz. Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tins cream of chicken soup
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 small can olives, chopped
  • 1 can green chili, minced
  • 1 cup of turkey, chicken, or even tuna
  • 1 8 oz shredded Cheddar cheese

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees or 175 Celsius.
  2. In a flat pan over medium-high heat, cook the meat.
  3. Lightly grease the 9×13 metal pan and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients and spread evenly in a casserole dish and top with shredded cheese.
  5. Cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours.